“I am making a very open call to Mr. Davutoğlu. Let's not wait for the EU to open chapters. Let's work to adopt the EU's democratic standards. Why do we have to wait for them to impose these norms on us? Let's do it in advance” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told Ankara bureau chiefs on Dec. 24.
“We need to amend the pessimist picture in Turkey in 2016. We do not deserve this picture. We are making this call for 2016 with this hope. Let's all together bring first-class democracy to Turkey. Turkish people do not deserve a third-class democracy” he said.
This call from the main opposition leader came just a week before he is scheduled to host Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu at CHP headquarters at a meeting where the latter is expected to seek the main opposition's support for constitutional and legal amendments the government has been planning to introduce in the new year.
Kılıçdaroğlu cited five immediate topics Turkey should resolve for stability in the country: the democratization process, foreign policy, the economy, education and the Kurdish peace process.
“These problems are interdependent. And they are deepening as no solutions have been introduced. One cannot expect stability if these problems cannot be resolved. And if they cannot be resolved, instability will be institutionalized. This is what has happened in Turkey” he said.
Meeting with Davutoğlu
With less than a week before the meeting with Davutoğlu, the main opposition leader listed the points he would bring to the attention of the prime minister.
“Replacing the junta-made constitution, revising the law on political parties, abolishing the 10 percent election threshold. These are some of the main issues. In terms of freedom of the press, jailing journalists in the 21st century is unacceptable. This has cast a serious shadow on Turkish democracy” Kılıdçaroğlu said.
Foreign policy needs to be overhauled
Turkey has no longer friends left in the region, Kılıdçaroğlu said, recalling that he had warned that a sectarian-based foreign policy would be very dangerous given the conditions in the region. “Foreign policy should be completely renewed,” he said.
The only positive development is the rapprochement provided with the EU, the main opposition leader said.
Other alarming issues are the economy and education, Kılıçdaroğlu said, blaming the Syrian refugees for the increase of unemployment in Turkey. The government's imposition in the educational system caused the collapse of public schools, he said, claiming that Iranian universities had surpassed their Turkish counterparts in the number of academic articles. “This is something that hurts me most,” he added.
Establishing a parliamentary commission for societal peace could be a venue for the resolution of the problem, he said, adding that the CHP was ready to do its share in this effort. “We should be able to carry the task to resolve this issue to Parliament. That's the most concrete proposal we make. Bandits have been armed and have blocked the entrance to these cities through trenches. There is no such thing under the rule of law. No one should consider declaring autonomous regions,” he said.
Let's inquire into corruption cases
One other thing to remove the dark clouds over the Turkish politics is to launch a new investigation into corruption and fraud cases, Kılıçdaroğlu said, recalling a closed case into four former ministers.
“If we are talking about virtue and ethics, then let's move on these corruption cases regardless who he or she is. We should clean the politics of this dirt. Turkey will step into a new age only after we can accomplish these things. Then the entire world will respect Turkey as they realize that Turkey has returned to its roots, to its cultural foundations.”
No presidential system
The CHP is ready to re-launch an interparty commission that worked for the renewal of the charter in previous years, he said, recalling that a former commission had already succeeded in writing around 60 articles for the new constitution and that the number could go up to 70 with additional ones on judicial independence.
On the presidential system, Kılıçdaroğlu said he would first ask what model the government is proposing before the CHP explains the measures that could be taken to better implement the parliamentary system that Turkey has been using for the last 200 years. “I do not know why we want to jump on such a thing that we have no idea about although we have a good 200 years of tradition with the parliamentary system.”
Kılıçdaroğlu also said he was of the opinion that Davutoğlu did not favor the adoption of the presidential system.
Demirtaş's visit to Moscow untimely
Asked about People's Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's recent visit to Moscow, Kılıçdaroğlu said the visit was not timely. “A more adequate date could have been selected for this visit” he said.
On Turkish-Israeli rapprochement, Kılıçdaroğlu said he did not want to score cheap political points but said Turkey should stand behind its three conditions before normalizing ties with Israel.